(Australian Associated Press)
Australian shares have gained for back to back days for the first time since the coronavirus crisis began, rallying in the final minutes of trade on reports that US politicians have reached a deal on a massive US stimulus deal to shore up the world’s biggest economy.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index powered almost six per cent in early trade, faded before noon and then gained 153 points in the last 15 minutes of the day after the White House announced it had a deal on the $A3.3 trillion stimulus measure.
The index closed on Wednesday up 262.4 points or 5.54 per cent, to 4,998.1, while the All Ordinaries index finished up 252.9 points, or 5.32 per cent, higher at 5,006.2.
The Australian dollar also rallied on the news, buying over 60 US cents for the first time in a week.
At 1730 AEDT it was trading at 60.33 US cents, up from 59.39 US as the market closed on Tuesday.
Financials led gainers, climbing 8.7 per cent, as all of the big banks climbed out of their recent doldrums.
The Commonwealth Bank was up 9.5 per cent to $62.40, NAB gained 9.7 per cent to $15.79, ANZ climbed 11.6 per cent to $16.57 and Westpac added 9.2 per cent to $15.85.
In the mining sector, BHP added 10.2 per cent to $31.30, Rio Tinto gained 5.4 per cent to $83.82 and Fortescue Metals gained 5.0 per cent to $10.22.
Goldminers Newcrest, Evolution and Northern Star were up between 5.3 and 10.3 per cent.
Bell Direct market analyst Jessica Amir said gold – which was trading for $US1,614 an ounce as the market closed – was enjoying its best four day stretch in years.
Buy now, pay later company Afterpay was the best performing ASX200 component, climbing 33.8 per cent to $15 after falling as low as $8.01 on Monday.
Qantas gained 26.3 per cent to $3.27 after securing $1.05 billion of funding against its aircraft fleet at an interest rate of 2.75 per cent to give the national carrier some added liquidity.
Virgin Australia gained 14.5 per cent to 7.1 cents after standing down 8,000 staff and further slashing domestic flight capacity.
CSL dipped 0.4 per cent to $284.36, dragging down the health care sector.
Cochlear, Webjet, Seafarms Group and oOh!Media were in trading halts amid efforts to raise capital as coronavirus disruptions threaten to eat into firms’ balance sheets.
Noni B, Rivers & Katies owner Mosiac Brands fell 23 per cent to 23 cents after shuttering all its stores from Thursday and standing down all its 6,800 team members, who have access to their leave entitlements.
Dominos Pizza’s lost 8.2 per cent to $49 after closing its New Zealand stores to comply with the country’s coronavirus lockdown.
Wesfarmers rose 5.5 per cent to $33.41 after saying it will shut its 25 Kmart outlets in NZ but will keep Bunnings open.
Star Entertainment Group gained 0.3 per cent to $1.62 after announcing it would suspend 8,100 of its staff and severely curtail its casinos.
Invocare lost 12.2 per cent to $9.83 after announcing the government’s social distancing measures would affect its ability to offer a full range of funeral services.
Looking forward, the Australian Bureau of Statistics will on Thursday release a business survey on the effects of the coronavirus lockdowns.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished on Wednesday up 262.4 points, or 5.54 per cent, at 4,998.1 points
* The All Ordinaries closed up 252.9 points, or 5.32 per cent, at 5,006.2 points
* At 1728 AEDT the SPI200 futures index was up five points, or 0.12 per cent, at 5,052 points
One Australian dollar buys:
* 60.33 US cents, from 59.39 US cents on Tuesday
* 67.12 Japanese yen, from 65.65 yen
* 55.78 euro cents, from 55.02 cents
* 51.01 British pence, from 41.05 pence
* 102.57 NZ cents, from 102.48 cents.